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March 20, 2020
It doesn't take much to cause faucet hookups and exposed water pipes to freeze and potentially burst, creating havoc in your home. For Oklahoma homeowners, freezing temperatures are a possibility any given day from mid-October to mid-April leaving you scrambling in the spring to fix them. Just a short period of 30- to 32-degree weather can begin a chain of events that leads to thousands of dollars in water damage.
How Do I Know when I have a Frozen Pipe?
There are several signs you may have a frozen or burst pipe. Leaks and dripping pipes are obvious indicators that there is a problem, but some are a little less apparent. Changes in your water pressure, discoloration, strange smells, or even bubbling and whistling noises when you turn the water on all hint to a problem in the pipes. Similarly, if you notice a spike in your water bills, this could be another sign of an issue.
What Happens When Pipes Freeze?
Pipes most susceptible to freezing are those that run through uninsulated parts of your house, like the basement, attic, garages, and crawl spaces. If it’s cold and windy, crawl spaces are always the first to freeze. However, the rupture in a pipe caused by freezing can happen anywhere.
When a pipe freezes, the ice in it expands, causing pressure along the length of the pipe. The pressure builds up somewhere between the faucet and the ice blockage, and this is where a pipe will burst. That’s why breakage often happens several feet away from the part of the pipe that’s frozen. This kind of problem can be complicated and quite costly to repair.
If you have a frost-proof faucet hookup, the long body should drain after the water is turned off. This is why it’s normal to see these faucets drip for a minute. If you leave your garden hose hooked up, the body of the faucet is unable to drain, and the water in the long body will freeze, causing it to rupture inside a wall or crawl space. Unfortunately, you might not even know it has burst until you turn the faucet back on, usually in the spring.
What You Can Do to Prevent Frozen Pipes
There are steps you can take to help prevent your pipes from freezing and avoid the cost of emergency plumbing repairs.
Drain outdoor water supply lines.
Unhook hoses when not in use if there’s a potential for freezing temperatures (any time between mid-October and mid-April).
If you have them, close upstream valves that provide water to outdoor hoses, and let hose bibs drain. Leave the faucet on.
Insulate pipes that are exposed to cold weather and insulate unheated spaces in your home.
Consider relocating pipes in unconditioned areas if possible or consider adding heat to those areas during extreme cold. Permanently conditioning or adding low-temperature activated heat to problem areas.
Leaving the cabinets open so the heat can get to the pipes.
In extreme cold, let faucets drip slowly on both hot and cold sides and keep your house warm.
Following these precautions will go a long way toward preventing frozen pipes and avoiding costly repairs. But if you find you’ve got a frozen or burst pipe, call a professional plumber right away before further damage occurs.
Call in the Pippin Professionals
At Pippin Brothers, we’ve been serving the needs of homeowners in Lawton, OK and the surrounding area since 1978. Our certified experts can assess your property for potential plumbing issues and provide solutions that will minimize repairs and virtually eliminate the need for emergency visits.
We also offer maintenance plans that give you peace of mind by providing proactive service that addresses plumbing issues before they can become emergencies for you.